Strangers from all over the country are rallying around Jordyn Grace, the 3-year-old girl who was rescued from her mother’s unresponsive body in the midst of the Beaumont, Texas flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Tragically, the child’s mother, Collette Sulcer, died in the waters as the small child clung to her and to life, buoyed by her mother’s body (and love) and a pink backpack that helped her float.
In days of too much tragedy, the survival of the small child and the death of Collette Sulcer (the latter of whom epitomizes a mother’s love) is moving people all over the country. “It’s my honor to give to baby Jordyn Grace. Please donate now to her future. To America’s future!” wrote one woman on Twitter, echoing many others.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jordyn Grace Was Spotted Clinging to Her Mother’s Body After Rescuers Saw Her Pink Backpack
Collette Sulcer and Jordyn Grace were in the mother’s car when it “became submerged at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday” in Beaumont, Texas, Buzzfeed reported. “Sulcer was then swept into a canal and found floating, holding her daughter, about a half-mile from the vehicle,” according to Buzzfeed.
“They were in the water for quite some time,” officer Carol Riley, a spokesperson for the Beaumont Police Department, told Buzzfeed. “When the baby was found, the baby was clinging to her. The mother did the best she could to keep her child up over the water.”
This is the statement the Beaumont police gave on the tragedy:
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 3:37 PM Officers responded to the area of 50 IH10 N, south bound service road in reference to a high water rescue. A 41 year old Beaumont woman, identified as Colette Sulcer and her young female child were traveling south bound on the service road and got into high water. She pulled her vehicle in to the Plaza 10 parking lot. The vehicle got stuck and the mother exited the car with the child. At some point she was swept into the canal and ended up floating about ½ mile from her vehicle. Two Beaumont Police Officers and two Beaumont Fire Rescue divers in a Zodiac boat, spotted the mother floating with the small child. The child was holding on to her mother. The first responders got to the mother and child just before they went under a trestle. Water was up to the trestle and first responders would not have been able to save the child if they had floated under it. Officers pulled the child and the mother into the boat and got them to the area of the 3700 block of Bayou. The mother was unresponsive. The child was responsive but suffering from hypothermia. First responders took turn performing CPR until they could get her to an ambulance. Water was still high so a citizen helped by allowing first responders to load the mother and daughter in his truck and brought them all to a waiting ambulance at Laurel and 23rd St. The mother died but the child is in stable condition.
Although police gave Sulcer’s name as Colette, her name was spelled Collette on Facebook.
According to The New York Times, Jordyn Grace, suffering from hypothermia, “was clutching her mother’s unresponsive body as the floodwaters rose around her. A rescue team …spotted the small pink backpack the girl was wearing and pulled her and her mother aboard.”
“Mama was saying her prayers,” the 3-year-old later told a relative, The Times reported, quoting the relative as saying, “Jordyn told me they were in the yucky water for quite a while. It’s a tragedy that her mama died, but it’s a miracle that Jordyn survived.”
According to Weather.com, “a witness saw Sulcer take her 3-year-old daughter and try to walk to safety when the swift current of a flooded drainage canal next to the parking lot swept them both away.”
The child stayed alive because her backpack helped her float and she was holding onto her mother, Weather.com reported.
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2. A Family Member Described Jordyn Grace as ‘Our Special Little Miracle’
“Hurricane Harvey has marked my family for life😞,” Sylvia Allison, who is Collette Sulcer’s cousin, wrote on Facebook. She also posted the above photo and wrote:
We always thought, Damn Nan Nan never having kids. Then here she is Ms Jordyn Grace. The only girl in our family of all boys, our lil tomboy at its finest. Our special little miracle😊 you survived all that water for hours holding on to my cousin, my godsister, my dairy of all the accomplishment, the only who actually showed she was proud of me. Your mother! On my last breath you wont want for anything. I love you babygirl😘
Allison also wrote, “Never thought id never see u again. Our family group messages 😂 you just texted us and was telling us about the storm and for once I actually listened😂 never thought hurricane harvey flood waters would take you from me forever. But only GOD left us a piece of you. Your daughter who was holding on to you every minute. My heart is broken nd im truly lost for words.”
One woman responded, “What a special woman she was! Was just reading all about her. And what a brave girl Jordyn Grace is! Thoughts and tears for your family. Stay strong and help each other get through this. Ms. Sulcer’s sacrifice will never be forgotten. I’m adding a ‘Wall of Honor’ post to my FB page (I already posted the original story as heartbreaking!!). All I can do is let you know you are loved from afar and we care about you and your family!”
3. A Fundraising Effort Has Raised More Than $50,000 for the Child
A man named Michael Skolnik, of Brooklyn, New York, established a GoFundMe account for Jordyn Grace. “This story has broken my heart and I feel we have to do something for this little girl,” he wrote.
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More than $57,000 was raised for the child in only three hours on August 31 from all over the country. A sampling of the comments left on the page: “Words fail me. We’re so sorry for the loss of your mom, little one. Know that you and your family are in our prayers” and “Hearing about this shook me.”
Skolnik has been posting about the GoFundMe campaign on his Twitter page to his more than 200,000 followers, where he describes himself as, “co-founder of @WeAreSoze, building social impact campaigns all over the world. Father to Mateo Ali. Creator of #ObamaAndKids.”
He started the GoFundMe campaign by writing, “My dear family. I cannot sleep. We must help this little girl who lost her mom. First 10 people to give $10 I’ll RT.”
4. Sulcer Worked as a Nurse, Following in Her Mother’s Footsteps
According to The New York Times, Sulcer became a nurse after her mother, who was also a nurse, died.
In July, Sulcer wrote on Facebook, “You know life can be so funny sometimes. I posted that saying early this morning when I couldn’t sleep and was just kind of looking at things on Facebook. Now that I am completely awake, I realize why. On this day 20 years ago I said goodbye to my best friend, my mom. I still remember it like yesterday. I walked in icu for the I can’t tell you how many times, I grab her hand and I told her that I loved her and it was ok she could go. I walked out her room and went to the waiting room and probably 15 minutes later she was gone and my life was forever changed. Mom, I miss you ever say and I love you. I’ve had so many good things that I wish yuh were there to share, including the birth of my child. I know you are looking down and enjoying watching her grow up and me change in to woman that I am today. I miss you everyday and I know I will see you again.”
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Sulcer filled her Facebook page with photos of Jordyn Grace.
Collette Sulcer was from a family devoted to service, the Times reported, and she loved music and cooking shows. Sulcer’s Facebook page said she was a Surgical Technologist at The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, worked at Memorial Hermann, studied at Lamar State College Port Arthur, went to West Brook Senior High School, and was from Beaumont, Texas.
Her last post on Facebook was a recipe.
5. At Least 38 People Have Died in the Texas Flooding
The death toll continues to mount from the horrific Texas flooding, which has stemmed from the unprecedented rainfall of Hurricane Harvey. At least 38 people have died, according to The New York Times.
The dead include a valiant Houston police officer, Sgt. Steve Perez, who drowned on his way to work, and a family of six, the Saldivars, who perished after their van was swept off a bridge. One member of the family, Devy Saldivar, had posted about her anxiety over the hurricane on social media before the tragedy.
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